Ralph Lauren Designs Team USA's Closing Ceremony Olympic Uniforms with a Sustainable Focus
"As we come together to celebrate and compete, we must also embrace our responsibility to protect the planet we all call home," David Lauren said in a statement
With just three months until the Tokyo Summer Olympics, Ralph Lauren has unveiled Team USA's closing ceremony parade uniform and apparel collection that captures the patriotic aesthetic of the label and sparks a sense of unity when the world needs it most.
"Following a year marked by isolation and strife, this summer's Games are a true testament to the resiliency of the human spirit and the universal power of sport to energize and unite the world," David Lauren, Chief Innovation and Branding Officer and Vice Chairman of the Board, said in a statement.
Setting this collection apart from Olympic year's past, the designs feature first-to-market innovations in sustainability: "As we come together to celebrate and compete, we must also embrace our responsibility to protect the planet we all call home," Lauren said.
Team USA's all-white uniform is composed of a classic Polo shirt made from verified U.S.-grown cotton, a drawstring jacket and striped belt made from recycled polyester and denim pants embossed with a leather alternative back-patch made from renewable resources called Mirum. Athletes will also be outfitted in Ralph Lauren shoes and face masks made from verified U.S.-grown cotton.
Select cotton apparel in the collection was dyed using ECOFAST Pure from Dow, which is a more sustainable solution for cotton dyeing that reduces the amount of water, chemicals and energy used compared to traditional dye processes.
Speaking with PEOPLE, three-time Olympic swimmer and Ralph Lauren brand ambassador Nathan Adrian says the sustainability aspect is "huge," sharing that the importance of protecting the planet "really hit home" when he became a dad.
"This collection in particular is manufactured in the United States," Adrian — who welcomed daughter Parker with wife Hallie Ivester on Feb. 9 — says. "The carbon emissions that we eliminate by not having to ship all over the world is really important. Being a dad just shifts your focus and perspective so much."
The five-time Olympic gold medalist says he loves the designs themselves and is continuously impressed by Ralph Lauren's ability to create "quintessential American-style clothing."
Although he's partnered with the brand before, slipping on an official Olympic uniform never gets old.
"I had some role models that grew up in my town who made the 2004 Olympics; I saw them put the cap on with the American flag and they had their apparel on. It's so meaningful because of what it represents," he explains. "Here I am so many years later getting to be part of that. So, seeing [the Ralph Lauren outfits] is exciting."
Reflecting on the highs and lows of training during the COVID-19 pandemic, Adrian admits, "It was tough, but the Olympics are sort of like this moment of resilience; this moment of triumph. Hopefully we're all going to be able to come together this summer."
Adrian is set to compete at Olympic Trials in Omaha, Nebraska from June 13th-20th in the hopes of returning to the games.
The Tokyo Olympics, postponed from last summer due to the pandemic, are currently scheduled to take place from July 23 through Aug. 8, 2021. (Last month, officials announced that overseas spectators will not be allowed at the upcoming Games amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.)
Items from Ralph Lauren's closing ceremony collection will be available for purchase beginning April 14 at ralphlauren.com and will hit select Ralph Lauren retail stores, select U.S. department stores and online at TeamUSAShop.com in June, with all proceeds from the collection going to support team USA.
To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics this summer on NBC.
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